Comprehensive List of Poetry Types

Types of PoemsAre you looking for new poetry types to try out? Everyone knows the most common types of poetry like haiku, sonnet, ballad, and free verse. But what about the others?

In this article, you’ll discover a comprehensive list of different types of poetry with easy to understand explanations along with some examples. Some of these styles will have strict rhythm while others will use repetition or other techniques. Whether you are searching for new poetry styles to write or doing research for a critique, you will surely find this list useful and informative.

The Three Genres of Poetry

A few thousand years ago, the great philosopher Aristotle divided poetry into three genres: comedy, tragedy, and epic. He said comedy was an imitation of something inferior in a humorous way, while both tragedies and epics are ways of displaying suffering. The main differences he saw between tragedies and epics are that epics are told as narratives in heroic meter and epics are longer with the ability to jump back and forth to different events happening at the same time. Tragedies, on the other hand, are written in iambic meter and should be able to be read in only one hearing.

Today, most literature enthusiasts agree that poetry is divided into three parts: dramatic, lyric, and narrative.

  1. Dramatic
    Dramatic poetry is a drama written in verse and meant to be spoken. This type of writing is usually written as a story or portrays a situation. The majority of dramatic poetry is written in blank verse. The most famous authors of dramatic poetry are Shakespeare, Jonson, and Marlowe.
  2. Lyric
    Lyric poetry expresses the thoughts and feelings of the writer and is often written with a song-like quality. Common types of lyrics include odes, elegies, and sonnets.
  3. Narrative
    Narratives tell stories. Common types of narratives are ballads and epics.

Nonetheless, these three genres can easily be divided into more exact categories of poetry types.

Specific Poetry Types


Consists of five lines. Lines from 1 to 4 are made up of words, phrases, or clauses with the first letter of each line in alphabetical order. Line 5 is one sentence long and may start with any letter.


Consists of any number of lines which spell a word or message. Usually, the message is formed from the first letter of the phrase but may be any letter.(Continue reading…)

How to Write a Clerihew

ClerihewI have mentioned Clerihew a few times on this blog and I even made an entire theme of Bright Dreams Journal of the genre, but what exactly is it and what does it accomplish?

Why Write a Clerihew?

First and foremost, yes, poetry has to accomplish something. It does not matter what. Entertainment, persuasion, and information are the most common. For Clerihew, entertainment is the most obvious choice. However, using Clerihew as a way to give information about people can also be a great way to help children remember important historical figures.(Continue reading…)

Sensory Use of Elements for Imagery in Poetry

Sensory use in poetryOver the past thirty years, poets have begun putting much emphasis on imagery. This is not to say imagery wasn’t important in the past, look at haiku’s popularity. Nonetheless, imagery has expanded so much that it virtually is the poem. Poets have recently spent their entire writing describing actions, scenery, and objects. It’s an interesting phenomenon and has brought about great works of art in the process. These poets are known as “imagists.” However, you don’t need to be an imagist in order to use at least some imagery in poetry. Actually, all poems should have at least a minuscule. It may be added through similes, metaphors, simple to complex descriptions, personification, hyperbole, and use of concrete words.(Continue reading…)

20 Poetry Topics with Over 100 Poetry Writing Prompts

Sometimes we hit a brick-wall when brainstorming for our next poetry topic. When this happens, its good to hear another person’s idea of what to write about. These types of suggestions are often referred to as writing prompts (because they prompt you to write. Get it?). Below you’ll find a list of poetry prompts on a variety of subjects. Feel free to change them as much or as little as you’d like. Just be sure to keep that rhythm!

Poetry Writing Prompts

1. An elderly couple has been married for 50 years. Suddenly, the wife passes away.
2. What was the beauty of the ocean the first time you saw it?
3. What is the sound of your house at night during a rainstorm?
4. What was the feeling you had the first time you fell in love?
5. Describe the fly that buzzes around your head on a hot and humid summer afternoon.
6. What are your feelings when you watch the sunset with the person you care about most?
7. Describe the buzzing sound in your ears after a screech.
8. Describe the screech of the chalkboard.
9. Describe the feeling of longing for something you can’t have.

(Continue reading…)

How to Write Poetry: 7 Steps for Beginners

Are you new to writing poetry or do you simply wish to become a better writer? The steps outlined below are designed for beginners in mind. Be sure to follow the steps to the letter. Once you become a more advanced writer you may wish to change the order up a bit, add your own steps, or possibly even forgo the steps all-together. However, I personally feel that following a routine is the best way to get the creative juices going and to formulate a poem.

Anyway, enough jibber-jabber. Below is a list of seven steps beginners can follow to write their first poem.(Continue reading…)

18 Tips to Help You Write Better Poetry

How to write better poetryEvery poet strives to be better. I’m no different. I continue to read poetry, refresh myself in the elements, and read tips from great authors as much as possible. During my free-time, I gathered some of the best tips I could find in poetry journals, magazines, and around the web over several years.

So here they are, the eighteen best tips I could find in order to help you write better poetry.(Continue reading…)